Sat 1 July – Sun 23 July
Memoria is an exciting new exhibition by artist Alex Peckham, reflecting upon life and death. The debut showing of this exhibition at Phoenix Brighton combines large-scale sculpture with spoken and written narrative, as well as dynamic sound and lighting. The installation creates an environment that juxtaposes interior and exterior. It is in one sense a deconstructed living space – however, the surreal environment is also reminiscent of nature, embodying a dreamlike quality.
Alex Peckham is a UK-based artist whose practice encompasses sculpture, sound, light and moving image to produce powerful installation art. He has a particular interest in the combination of traditional fine art techniques with contemporary time-based media. His work has been shown at The Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths, Artist Residence, and many other galleries, events and institutions.
Much of Alex’s work features a strong process-driven aspect, and Memoria continues this practice. His previous work, Interstice, involved the painstaking creation of an intricately-patterned inverted crystal boat. Memoria features an even lengthier process, with each wing of the giant insect being covered entirely by hand with tiny tufts of imitation fur.
“In one sense it is a penance, in another it is catharsis or meditation. It really depends on how I am feeling at the time. Actually cutting and forming each tuft is quite monotonous but I have a lot of practice and I’m very consistent now, so if I’m feeling stressed then I do that instead. It takes about five minutes to make ten tufts and I need more than one thousand for each wing, so it’s a slow process.”
The primary theme Memoria addresses is that of mortality, asking us to consider what is truly important in our own lives. Death undermines the rational, reminding us that in one sense, everything is pointless. Equally, art is not rational – it does not exist to serve society but instead to explore it. Alex seeks to explore whether art can help us understand this?
Alex formerly held a senior role with internationally renowned artists’ group Blast Theory. He led technical development of many Blast Theory projects, including the multi-award-winning Karen and My One Demand, a 90-minute film shot entirely in one take and performed live on three consecutive nights on the streets of Toronto, broadcast to cinemas across the city during the Luminato film festival.
To accompany the exhibition, Phoenix Brighton is delighted to announce the event Artists in Conversation: Mortality and Art. What is loss? Have we fallen into a maelstrom of everyday activities and obligations at the expense of our own spiritual well-being? This fascinating event will take place on Weds 19 July, and joining Alex to discuss these questions will be artists Rachael Allen and Lorenza Ippolito. Each artist will present their views, followed by an open discussion with the audience.
Phoenix Arts Association was established by a group of artists in Brighton in 1991. Initially, the group rented some 20 workspaces in the current premises, Wellesley House. At the time, the site was planned for redevelopment. In 1996, with the support of Brighton Council and a grant from the Single Regeneration Budget, Phoenix was able to purchase the building, refurbish, and create up to 100 studios, together with two gallery exhibition facilities, education workshop spaces and larger workspaces for short-term projects.
10-14 Waterloo Place, Brighton BN2 9NB